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Jesuit High Officials Want to Build a New Chapel

The construction also includes a proposal to expand the existing campus and improve parking, according to a Sacramento County Planning Commission report.

Jesuit High School is looking to expand its campus, improve parking, build a new chapel and provide a new entrance to the school to mitigate traffic congestion.

The school is looking to make some major renovations. And it's not the first time the school has proposed the overhaul.

The new proposed project would allow for the expansion of Jesuit's campus, which has operated at its location for more than 49 years. The expansion would include a new chapel and parking lot to accommodate existing school-related functions. Although the request implies an increase in the number of students from 1,000 to 1,100, the staff report indicates this is a reflection of current school enrollment, meaning the project would not result in an increase in overall traffic.

The project also includes the installation of a new four-way traffic signal on Fair Oaks Boulevard at a new campus entrance which would align with Arden Hills Country Club Lane, according to the report. The new entrance is intended to control traffic congestion and increase safety during the schools’ peak hours. The development plans have been revised in an attempt to alleviate neighbor’s concerns by shifting the access drive further west, redirecting the student drop-off area and foot traffic away from the adjacent homes, according to the report. The entrance would come with a decorative masonry wall and dense plant landscaping along the adjoining property line.

The project goes back as far as 2008, when notification letters were mailed by the County in October 2008 to the property owners within 500 feet of the subject site. As a result of that notification, the Planning Department received 29 responses, 13 in favor of the project, eight opposed and eight undecided, according to staff reports.

From December 2008 to December 2010, several letters and emails were submitted from neighbors in opposition to the project, several of which were also in response to the initial and updated environmental document. The majority of these letters were received from the residents of Lantern Court, who, according to staff reports, would be most affected by the proposed development. Traffic impact was the big concern as well as the location of a new traffic light, and the size and height of the chapel and cross.

The school proposed a similar again in May 2011; however, an appeal kept the school from moving forward on the project at that time. The appeal was over the lack of an environmental impact report and Sacrmento County Planning Commission staff agreed.

Jesuit has since hosted meetings with individual Lantern court property owners, and hosted a neighborhood meeting in February. Since the draft of a new environmental document for the project, both the Carmichael-Old Foothill Farms and Arden Arcade CPACs reviewed the proposal for a second time and recommended approval, according to staff reports. However, approximately eight to 10 neighbors in attendance at the February meeting opposed the project at the and one neighbor who opposed the project attended the Arden Arcade meeting.

The main concerns boiled down to the location of a new entrance and traffic light on Fair Oaks Boulevard with impacts to Lantern Court residents, which is a landlocked street, according to the report. The report indicated the proposed chapel events, increase in student population adding more traffic to Fair Oaks Boulevard along with the height and proximity of new chapel building near Lantern Court residences were just some of the concerns residents had.

County Planning Commission members will address the new proposal at its April 8 meeting which begins at 5:30 p.m.

What do you think? Is Jesuit ready for a revamp or is the impact too great for its surrounding community? Sound off in the comments.

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